Jemeel Moondoc Muntu Recordings NoBusiness Records 2010
Lithuanian based NoBusiness records has put together a wonderful retrospective on under celebrated saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc and his pioneering ensemble Muntu, sumptuously packaged in a three-audio disc plus booklet box set. It's a bulletin from another era, the late 1970s, a fertile period in free jazz history which has been sparsely documented. The set goes some way to redressing that imbalance, with the 114 page booklet containing erudite essays by Ed Hazell on loft jazz and Muntu, a commentary by Moondoc himself, a gazetteer of ...read more
The duo recording is one of the most open windows available into the nature of improvisation; its give and take or discussive" aspects are often made very clear by two players involved in musical conversation. And nowhere are melody and rhythm so tightly balanced as they often are in a saxophone-and-drums duo. Coltrane’s last and finest flights were with Rashied Ali on Interstellar Space ; Ali and tenorist Frank Lowe met a few years later to record the blistering classic Duo Exchange. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton have had a longstanding experimental duo that extends the language of reeds and ...read more
Maybe I am wrong about this, but it seems to me that in recent years an increasingly large number of horn players -including the likes of Nick Bisesi, Rob Blakeslee, and Joe McPhee- have begun to make music similar to that found on the early recordings of Ornette Coleman. Given that over the past 40 or so years Coleman's advances in the realm freedom have been far more influential than his aesthetic conceptions, this is a welcome development and far from a reactionary retreat.
Jemeel Moondoc is one player who has long been mining this area. Since arriving in the ...read more
Instilled with a steadfast commitment to cultivating an original presence and voice Jemeel Moondoc has weathered inclement circumstances that would have crippled others with less resolve. From his often-garish garb, to his singular sound on his horn he seems an artist secure in his place within the free jazz cosmology. Sadly, like so many of his peers, Moondoc’s resilient confidence hasn’t translated into a steady string of recording opportunities. This trend shifted when Eremite took notice and began bolstering Moondoc’s recorded output. Since the label released this disc, as it’s inaugural offering back in 97’ both it’s fortunes and Moondoc’s ...read more
Over the years Jemeel Moondoc has suffered from the myopic vision of certain critics who have referred to his saxophone technique with such misplaced adjectives as “primitive” and “odd ball.” Other shortsighted souls have focused their squinted gaze on his flamboyant fashion sense and summarily assumed that his music must be clownish or comedic in nature. There is definitely a raw edge and a healthy humor to Moondoc’s sound, but these are only facets of a far more expansive whole. This disc, like those that have preceded it in Moondoc’s still modest portfolio, once again sets the record straight for ...read more
The primacy of live performance coupled with the reality that there just aren’t that many labels willing to front the bread for creative improvised music has led to a dearth of entries in Jemeel Moondoc’s discography. Studio dates for the saxophonist are a rarity and it’s for this reason that his pairing with Eremite makes so much sense and has proven so fruitful. Eremite’s most common medium is live performance and a large portion of the label’s catalog features music culled from the annual Fire In the Valley Festival. Likewise Moondoc is at his best in the throes of impromptu ...read more